Pennsylvania was one of the original 13 colonies and was the seat of government from 1776 until 1800. Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were created in this historic state. In addition to its flourishing steel industry, Pennsylvania is also rich with farmlands, which occupy about 8 million acres. The Allegheny Mountains and the Appalachian Plateau cover much of the state. Rivers are common and the forests support a vast diversity of lush plant life, including many native flowering plants.
Aquilegia canadensis is the botanical name of this red, white and yellow wildflower. It occurs in much of the eastern United States and Canada, including Pennsylvania. It has moderate value to wildlife, attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects. It's an adaptable plant, growing in conditions of full sun to full shade. It grows almost 2 feet tall and sports flowers that resemble shooting stars.
Asclepias tuberosa is a perennial member of the milkweed family of plants, many of which serve as hosts for butterflies and beneficial insects. The Butterfly weed grows to 2 feet tall, with multiple stems. It sports showy orange blossoms in mid-summer. Butterfly weed occurs throughout much of the United States and Eastern Canada and is listed as endangered, vulnerable or threatened in some states. It's an adaptable plant and grows in medium- to coarse-textured soils.
Also called the swamp rose mallow and crimson-eyed rosemallow, the Hibiscus moscheutos is related to the tropical hibiscus. Growing as a shrub, this herbaceous perennial plant has multiple stems with large, 6-inch pink flowers that bloom in summer. It attracts hummingbirds and provides some support to wildlife in the form of food and habitat. It lives in wetlands such as swamps and marshes throughout the eastern United States, as far south as Texas and Florida and as far north as Massachusetts. This plant is sometimes cultivated as an attractive landscape plant, and several cultivars with different-colored flowers are available at some nurseries.
New York Aster
The Aster novi belgii is a perennial wildflower that occurs not only in Pennsylvania but also in damp meadows, thickets and near the ocean in the eastern United States. It grows to 2 feet tall and sports bright blue-violet flowers in late summer into early fall. It provides forage for butterflies, bees, birds and other beneficial insects.
Monarda fistulosa is the botanical name of this flowering herb, which is a source of tea, also called Oswego tea. It gained prominence during early U.S. history when protesting colonists dumped their black tea into Boston Harbor and were forced to find an alternative beverage; wild bergamot tea filled the bill. A member of the large mint plant family, this bergamot grows to almost 5 feet tall and has whorls of purple flowers in summer. It occurs throughout most of the United States and Canada and is considered weedy or invasive in some areas.